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Sun 1st June 2014

Evaluation of Child Support Act for Children and Parents

Filed under: Boys / Youth / Education,Child Support,Gender Politics,Law & Courts — MurrayBacon @ 12:37 am

4 Objects
See: www.legislation.co.nz

• The objects of this Act are—
o (a)to affirm the right of children to be maintained by their parents:
o (b)to affirm the obligation of parents to maintain their children:
o (c)to affirm the right of caregivers of children to receive financial support in respect of those children from non-custodial parents of the children:
o (d)to provide that the level of financial support to be provided by parents for their children is to be determined according to their capacity to provide financial support:

o (e)to ensure that parents with a like capacity to provide financial support for their children should provide like amounts of financial support:
o (f)to provide legislatively fixed standards in accordance with which the level of financial support to be provided by parents for their children should be determined:
o (g)to enable caregivers of children to receive support in respect of those children from parents without the need to resort to court proceedings:
o (h)to ensure that equity exists between custodial and non-custodial parents, in respect of the costs of supporting children:
o (i)to ensure that obligations to birth and adopted children are not extinguished by obligations to stepchildren:
o (j)to ensure that the costs to the State of providing an adequate level of financial support for children and their custodians is offset by the collection of a fair contribution from non-custodial parents:
o (k)to provide a system whereby child support and domestic maintenance payments can be collected by the Crown, and paid by the Crown to those entitled to the money.

Evaluated From Perspective of the Children
In the list of stated objectives, nowhere does it state that these objectives are to be interpreted in the interests of the child, let alone in the paramount interests of the child.
The primary objective is to recover as much of the DPB payment from the related fathers (even where the father might be in a position to care for the child at a lower cost themselves in their own household or where the supposed NCP would do a better job of giving the child proper development).

There is nothing inherent in gender, why mothers should be encouraged to give their time to the children and fathers forced to supply money and at lower priority time for their children. Once breast feeding is past, then gender becomes relatively irrelevant. At this point, the baby or child’s main needs are care and emotional responding. When push comes to shove in a separation situation, sometimes both parents are equally capable of caring for children (in others words time with each isn’t a large issue and a wide range of care options will be satisfactory, as long as frequent contact is maintained).
The children’s interest would be better protected, by setting the care arrangements as necessary for the children’s development and then parent’s resources should be used to decide the child support obligation. As women on average have slightly poorer mental health than married men, particularly in the time after birth, on separation the majority of the children’s care should be provided by the father. Incidentally, this would provide women with a significant incentive not to break up the parental partnership.
Sometimes, one or both parents may be quite poorly placed to care for children, due to low or medium level mental health issues, in which case giving that parent majority care can be very harmful to the child, especially if the children are young. When children are young, the maximum time left alone in the care of a parent with mental health issues should not exceed 24 hours.

As mothers are often mildly or even severely depressed after birth, on the law of averages if a separation is to be forced, the medical aspects would suggest that majority care should be with the father. (Fathers are also often mildly depressed after a birth, but usually a bit less so than the mother.) Knowing that this was the necessary outcome, many mothers might prefer to seek mental health help and maintain the family unit, than put themselves into the NCP role?
In essence, mothers support by time is partly taken into account, but not fathers eg discounting any care less than 40%, when familycaught$ or CP artificially restrict access to under the legally set threshold, to the CP’s financial advantage.

When the CP denies access, this is then taken into account in calculating cs, thus incentivising supposedly illegal denial of access – against a background of children suffering from denied access, could you ever get more stupid than this?

Issues About Equity Between Parents
To falsely disguise the spousal support component as child support, the same payment is forced onto fathers where the mother is actually in a supported relationship, or is working and self supported anyway. This shows that the real objective is to pressurise the NCP to weaken their ability to develop political pressure to defend themselves from the child [and spousal] support payments. When the CP becomes more independent and can no longer draw DPB, the spousal support component continues, unabated. This is directly unfair to the NCP.

Severe Gender Disparity (h)
Financial support is a hard obligation for fathers, whereas mothers are let off very lightly as their required support doesn’t depend in any way on their financial resources or social support– in other words – it is not an equal obligation to support between fathers and mothers (h)
Example – unemployed father hassled over income and pressured to find work but extracting that last little bit of cash, puts this father into much poorer situation than unemployed man with no children. Thus he is severely disadvantaged in terms of costs of access – to the disadvantage of the children.

(a) (b) and (c) although worded to include the child, the underlying issue is the cost of Government benefits paid to CPs. These clauses assume that one party is CP and one party is NCP, whereas the CoCAct removed those legal concepts from decisions about the care of children?
(d) the level of support is set by ability to pay, not by the actual cost of caring for a child. It also makes it easy to separate the decision about who provides how much care, from the negotiations between parents.
(e) essentially a duplication of (d), but given based on capability, not the actual cost – these clauses don’t effect equality at all.
(h) the act enforces inequality between CP and NCP, in many ways:
enforced spousal support, even when it is no longer justified.
(j) this act fails completely to achieve this, as it is completely impossible to achieve, except for the few NCPs earning 5x the average wage. Overally, the Act fall so far short of achieving this objective, that recovery of DPB is less than 20% of total DPB costs. Given the large costs to run ird-cs, the high social costs created by ird-cs, the high costs to children of forcing their fathers to give priority to cash payments over the welfare of their children, then this Act destroys far more than it creates. The losers, most of all, are the children whose names are used to justify the employment of the large bureaucracy, against the welfare of the children.

There is a well established principle in management, to put the decision making where the responsibility lies, or said in a different way, user pays the costs brought on by their choice or decision. In the instance of the child support act, generally the mother is given the opportunity to control the custody of the child, but the costs are placed onto the father, with no possibility to even take part in the decisions over the child’s life. This practice is the diametric opposite of good management.

So what? When a parental relationship is intact and the couple are self-supporting, there is inherently accountability both ways between the parents. This shared decision making uses the best of two brains, experience, knowledge and skills, leading almost always to serving and protecting the children’s interests.

Where a separation is powered by depression, then the outcome under cs act, is the depressed mother is in control, the father is supertaxed but unable to protect his children, despite the familycaught$ legislation. The child loses the protection of accountability between the two parents.

Initially on separation, the CP may have no income of their own and the child [and spousal] support payment generally includes a large amount of spousal support. The amount of spousal support in the cs payment is not shown explicitly. However, when CP gets own income, inherits assets or gains social support eg marriage, there is no reduction of this spousal support component. In my opinion, this factor is in extreme non-compliance with (h).

What does the forced transfer of money (more than cost of caring for the child) tell to the children?
It makes the CP look financially successful and the NCP look much less financially successful, in the eyes of the children. This appearance altered from reality effect miscommunicates to the children, the degree of financial success of their parents. This can have consequential effects, such as encouraging the children to mimic the CP’s behaviour, more so than if the children had known the truth about their parents. This dynamic can have surprisingly large effects on the children, for example if they then decide to fail at school. Later catching up can be a very time consuming and expensive process later on, as my child found out to his later horror.

The forced payment of not justified spousal support allows women to appear to be more financially successful, than they are in fact. This may mislead the children into giving the CP more respect than they are in fact due. This may mislead the children into adopting the mother’s values, where if the children had known the truth, they would have been more likely to model themself more on the father’s values. In some cases, this may lead children to reject education, at a large cost later on to catch up earlier lack of progress.

This forced transfer of funds also may give assistance to women to repartner and disadvantage the father in being able to repartner? Curiously, the converse seems to happen, fathers repartner more than mothers. Certainly, fathers seem to repartner with women from outside of the english speaking countries and many mothers don’t repartner at all. I am interested to see what separated parents think of these issues?

In my opinion, that fathering hasn’t been destroyed by this Act, says a huge amount for the tolerance of fathers, for them placing their children’s welfare beyond their own (and also for their stupidity to tolerate such anti-father legislation).

4 Responses to “Evaluation of Child Support Act for Children and Parents”

  1. Shore Dad says:

    Not sure if this is the appropriate area to comment on this. After several Admin Reviews under the CSA(none of which have been in my favour), I have been encouraged by the IRD to seek the opinion of the Family Court. I essence, I have shared care and the ex voluntarily works part-time and has done so for years. I’m being slaughtered by compulsory deductions which removes any impetus for her to work full time. Where on earth do I start? God knows I can’t afford lawyers after many years in the Family Court!

  2. Anon says:

    Objects. A lot of unreferenced material and therefore unsubstantiated evidence in your comment. For example, “As mothers are often mildly or even severely depressed after birth…..”

  3. Man X Norton says:

    Anon: Although the word ‘often’ may be disputed, it is indisputable that post-natal depression affects many women. This may be mild and pass after a short recovery period but in a significant proportion of cases it can be severe and/or chronic and last for years unless treated.

    Your comment referred to ‘a lot’ of unsubstantiated evidence in Murray Bacon’s post but you provided only one example that was no more than splitting hairs over the meaning of ‘often’.

    The fact that statements are unreferenced doesn’t mean they are unsubstantiated and certainly not that they are untrue. A blog site such as this does not aspire to scientific journal standards requiring everything to be referenced, and often statements are made based on what was previously referenced on this site and is now accpeted as having been established.

  4. MurrayBacon says:

    Dear Anon, I apologise for not providing sufficient references earlier. I took this as common knowledge, certainly in health field.

    I am not sure if I sense that you felt that I was attacking mothers? If so, then I apologise. Depression is surprisingly common in young fathers too (and more often missed by GPs than for mothers) and both parental depressions may hazard the proper and happy development of children.

    PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT NUMBER 3 CHAPTER 7: WOMEN

    Canadian data on depression in the last 12 months and resulting work impairment:
    Depression and work impairment by Heather Gilmour and Scott B. Patten
    Parenting is a very important (often undervalued) type of work.

    Family Minded: supporting children in families affected by mental illness by Barnardos {This document shows the need for support, but ignores the worst case, where the protection of children required removal of children.]

    Why is the sex gap in feelings of depression wider in high gender equity countries? The effect of children on the psychological well-being of men and women Rosemary L. Hopcroft ⇑, Julie McLaughlin
    Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223, United States
    a b s t r a c t
    This study uses data from 23 countries in the World Values Survey and the National Survey
    of Families and Households and finds that the sex gap in feelings of depression is wider in
    high gender equity societies even though overall levels of feelings of depression are lower.
    Using hierarchical logistic modeling, we find that the sex difference in feelings of depression
    is wider in high gender equity societies because children increase depression for
    women in high gender equity societies, while they reduce depression for women without
    paid employment in low gender equity societies. There is little difference in the effect of
    children on feelings of depression for men across societies.
     2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    1. Introduction
    Epidemiological and other research shows that in all countries women are more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression
    than men (Kleinman and Good, 1985; Weissman et al., 1996; Mirowsky, 1996; Bebbington et al., 1998; WHO ICPE, 2000;
    Andrade et al., 2003; Simon and Nath, 2004; Inaba et al., 2005; Simon and Lively, 2010; Van de Velde et al., 2010). Yet
    the sex gap in depression is wider in high gender equity (developed) societies, and smaller in low gender equity, more traditional
    societies (Culbertson, 1997; Fischer and Manstead, 2000; Hopcroft and Bradley, 2007). Hopcroft and Bradley (2007)
    found that the sex difference in feelings of depression is greater in high gender equity societies, and this persists when
    including the typical controls for age, health, marital status, and SES. This occurs despite the fact that overall levels of feeling
    depressed are lower in more developed, gender equitable societies (see Fig. 1). Ironically, Hopcroft and Bradley (2007) find
    that greater gender equity appears to help men’s mental health more than women’s. What can explain the counterintuitive
    finding that the sex gap in feelings of depression is wider in high gender equity societies?
    Gender equity is a macrosociological characteristic of a society indicating that women have rights and opportunities in
    the public sphere. Women are allowed to vote, obtain higher education, go out in public unchaperoned, earn income, and
    enjoy other rights that in some societies are reserved for men only. These rights are often denied to women in low gender
    equity societies, particularly societies that follow Islamic or Sharia law. In low gender equity societies, women are sometimes
    legally considered the property of their male relatives. Women are frequently illiterate and have comparatively low life
    expectancy compared to women in high gender equity societies. Marriage and motherhood are considered the highest
    callings for women, and women who remain unmarried or childless are often stigmatized. Gender equity is highly correlated
    with the development of a society – richer, more developed societies tend to be the most gender equitable.
    Yet gender equity in the public sphere in developed societies may not necessarily translate into gender equity in the private
    sphere. Although women may have greater employment opportunities outside of the home, this may not translate into
    an equitable division of labor in the home. Studies show that women still do the majority of childcare and household work
    (Gove and Geerken, 1977; Glass and Camarigg, 1992; Wu and DeMaris, 1996; Bebbington, 1996; Bianchi et al., 2006, pp. 34
    and 64), while workplaces often make it difficult to combine childcare and work roles. Role conflict arguments emphasize
    the difficulties for women who juggle home and work roles (Lennon and Rosenfield, 1994; Roxburgh, 2004). In the United
    States, women are more likely than men to report that they associate their work identity with a lack of time and energy for
    their families (Simon, 1997). Women who work often feel pressed for time and worry that they do not spend enough time on
    their families, their husbands and themselves (Bianchi et al., 2006). This is despite the fact that women also report that they
    derive emotional reward from work (Phelan, 1994; Mirowsky and Ross, 1986; Campione, 2008), to the extent that it can be a
    refuge from stresses at home (Hochschild, 1997). These arguments suggest that, greater employment opportunities for women
    in developed societies may increase stress for women, and this may explain the wider sex gap in the experience of feelings
    of depression in high gender equity societies. This leads to the first hypothesis:
    1. The sex gap in feelings of depression is greater in high gender equity societies in part because of stress associated
    with employment in high gender equity societies
    In addition, there is a greater prevalence of divorce and single parenthood in high gender equity societies (Greenstein and
    Davis, 2006), and this may contribute to poorer mental health for women but not men. Often in the case of divorce a woman’s
    financial situation deteriorates and she has to cope with financial difficulties. There is a large literature showing that
    divorce is often associated with substantial decline in the financial well being of women but not of men (Holden and Smock,
    1991; Smock et al., 1999; Zagorsky, 2005). Such additional stresses on women in high gender equity countries can counter
    the beneficial effects of development on mental health for women, and produce the empirical finding that development
    helps male mental health more than female mental health. These arguments suggest the following hypothesis:
    2. The sex gap in feelings of depression is greater in high gender equity societies in part because of the greater prevalence
    of divorce, single parenthood and associated financial strains for women in high gender equity societies compared
    to low gender equity societies
    Time pressures on employed women in developed societies often results from their greater involvement in childcare,
    especially when societal institutions for alternative care are unavailable or scarce. Women in less-developed societies also
    have primary responsibility for childcare, but there are reasons to believe that the burden may not be as great for them. First,
    in less-developed societies both larger families and the greater availability of the extended family likely ameliorates stresses
    associated with parenting. The presence of older relatives as well as numerous older siblings may mean lots of helping hands
    with young children. Second, the nature of parenting differs in less-developed societies. Caldwell (1976, 1982) has pointed
    out that children are often a social and economic asset in traditional societies, whereas in developed societies children are
    often an economic (if not a social) burden (see also Rosenzweig, 1990). This is especially true given cultural expectations for
    intensive parenting and norms of high levels of investment in children in high gender equity societies (Bianchi et al., 2006).
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children:
    Opportunities to Improve Identification, Treatment, and Prevention
    Mary Jane England and Leslie J. Sim, Editors;
    Committee on Depression, Parenting Practices, and the Healthy Development of Children; National Research
    Free Executive Summary
    ISBN: 978-0-309-12178-1, 488 pages, 6 x 9, hardback (2009)
    This executive summary plus thousands more available at http://www.nap.edu.

    Depression is a widespread condition affecting approximately 7.5 million parents in the
    U.S. each year and may be putting at least 15 million children at risk for adverse health
    outcomes. Based on evidentiary studies, major depression in either parent can interfere
    with parenting quality and increase the risk of children developing mental, behavioral and
    social problems.  Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children highlights
    disparities in the prevalence, identification, treatment, and prevention of parental
    depression among different sociodemographic populations. It also outlines strategies for
    effective intervention and identifies the need for a more interdisciplinary approach that
    takes biological, psychological, behavioral, interpersonal, and social contexts into
    consideration.
    A major challenge to the effective management of parental depression is
    developing a treatment and prevention strategy that can be introduced within a
    two-generation framework, conducive for parents and their children. Thus far, both the
    federal and state response to the problem has been fragmented, poorly funded, and
    lacking proper oversight. This study examines options for widespread implementation of
    best practices as well as strategies that can be effective in diverse service settings for
    diverse populations of children and their families.
    The delivery of adequate screening and
    successful detection and treatment of a depressive illness and prevention of its effects on
    parenting and the health of children is a formidable challenge to modern health care
    systems. This study offers seven solid recommendations designed to increase awareness
    about and remove barriers to care for both the depressed adult and prevention of effects
    in the child. The report will be of particular interest to federal health officers, mental and
    behavioral health providers in diverse parts of health care delivery systems, health policy
    staff, state legislators, and the general public.

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